A ruling on whether Turkey's ruling party, its prime minister, and president will be banned from politics may come this week, analysts said, as its most senior court opens deliberations on the matter Monday. It can find the Justice and Development Party guilty of trying to steer the secular nation toward Islamic rule and impose the bans or a fine, or it can dismiss the case. The ongoing issue has had wide ramifications, among them political turmoil, the undermining of financial markets, and stalling progress on reforms mandated by the European Union if Turkey's candidacy for membership is to advance.
Shrugging off international criticism, Iranian authorities hanged 29 felons Sunday, the largest mass execution in years. The convicts all "had long criminal records," a senior prosecutor said, and "executing [them] reflects the Islamic republic's will to confront such crimes." By one news agency count, Iran has put at least 155 people to death so far this year. Amnesty International has said only China applies the death penalty more often.
Conservatives in Britain opened their largest lead in the history of the respected ComRes poll over the weekend, and published reports said members of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Cabinet were considering whether to seek his "orderly resignation." Brown's Labour Party lost one of its safest seats in a special election late last week, its third such defeat in a row. The ComRes survey, taken last Wednesday and Thursday, showed the opposition Conservative Party with 46 percent support, compared to Labour's 24 percent.
Terrorism was ruled out as the cause of an incident that forced the emergency landing of a Qantas jumbo jet in the Philippines Friday. By Sunday, investigators were focusing on the possibility that an oxygen cylinder had exploded in flight, ripping a 10-foot hole in the fuselage and causing the Boeing 747 to plunge 20,000 feet before it could be stabilized. No one among the 365 people aboard was hurt. If the oxygen cylinder theory is confirmed, it would have implications for all other 747s in service, aviation experts said.
Even tougher days lie ahead, Cuban leader Raul Castro warned Saturday night on the 55th anniversary of the start of the island's communist revolution. The economy, he said, will struggle to cope with the rising prices of food and oil. Still, Cuba will "continue paying special attention to defense," no matter who wins the US presidential election in November, Castro said. To the disappointment of those who'd hoped for an announcement of further social or economic reforms, he mentioned none.
A "decisive and revolutionary 'yes' vote" on Sept. 28 was predicted by Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa after Congress approved his proposed new constitution, setting the stage for a nationwide referendum. A majority of voters must OK his plans for expanded control over the economy, monetary policy, the courts, and private property if the rewritten charter is to wrest power from the traditional political parties. The proposed constitution also would allow Correa to remain in office through 2017.
Premier Hun Sen and his Cambodian People's Party appeared headed for a landslide win in a national election Sunday as voters flocked to the polls in a spirit of nationalism due to the border dispute with Thailand. Hun Sen, a onetime Khmer Rouge member, has held his post since 1985, making him Asia's longest-serving leader. Victory would give him another five-year term.
Typhoon Fung Wong was expected to make landfall on Taiwan Mon-day, making it the second such storm to hit in 10 days. On July 18, typhoon Kalmaegi killed at least 20 people and caused extensive flooding, landslides, and damage to crops.